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Saturday, 23 February, 2002, 19:28 GMT
Girl stabbed for mobile phone
map of Croydon
Police are appealing for witnesses after a 12-year-old girl was stabbed for her mobile phone in London.

The girl was walking on London Road, Croydon, with her seven-year old sister and 10-year old cousin when the attack happened.

This is a hideous attack, especially given the age of the child involved and the extent of her injuries

Detective Inspector Dave Heckels
Scotland Yard said she was approached at a bus stop near the junction with Montague Road by two black youths and a youth with a scarf hiding his face.

It is believed they started talking to the girl and then stabbed her twice in the back and in her left leg.

They then stole her mobile phone and ran off.

Teenage attackers

Police said the suspects are all thought to have been in their mid teens.

The 12-year-old was taken to a south London hospital where she is in a stable condition.

Her injuries are not thought to be life threatening but she has a punctured lung.

The investigation is currently being led by Detective Inspector Dave Heckels at Croydon CID.

He said: "This is a hideous attack, especially given the age of the child involved and the extent of her injuries."

A 15-year-old boy has been arrested in connection with the incident.

The incident comes after mobile phone muggers were warned to expect tougher sentences as the courts try to crack down on a surge in the crime.

Offenders are being told to expect a jail sentence - in some cases of five years or more.

Police warning

Scotland Yard has also repeated warnings to mobile phone users not to use their phones in busy crowds where thieves have more protection from identification.

Owners have also been advised to record the unique IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identification) number on their mobile phones to give to police if their phone is stolen.

The IMEI number is a unique 15-digit number that can be found by keying *#06# into most phones or by looking behind the battery of the phone.

Other security measures include marking the phone with your postcode, so you can be easily traced if you are the victim of a theft.

The BBC's Nicola Pearson
"The crime is now not unusual"
See also:

08 Nov 01 | Education
Pupils warned over mobile phone theft
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